Auto Paint Repair

Lacquer Auto Paint: Pros and Cons


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When researching the various types of automotive paints available for your next touch up or repaint job, lacquer auto paint is a category that you will commonly hear about. Lacquer based paints enjoyed a great deal of popularity and success between the 1920s and 1960s and as such, are still available today. While not the best choice for a professional paint and body shop, lacquer paint does have some distinct benefits to its use, especially for the do it yourself painter. These advantages do tend to come with a few key disadvantages that may require careful considerations before choosing lacquer for your next painting project.

Advantages to Lacquer Based Paints

  • Lacquer based paints dry quickly and tend to develop fewer runs than other types of paint, which makes them relatively friendly even to the inexperienced. When applying a paint, uneven application and paint runs are one of the hardest things to avoid, with dust contamination easily destroying even the most perfect application.
  • Lacquer is less sensitive to temperature, and due to its quick drying, it is also less sensitive to dust. This means that lacquer can even be applied in a non-climate controlled garage if needed, while still allowing a high quality finished product.
  • Price is a definite advantage when it comes to lacquer. Lacquer paints tend to be relatively cheap compared to other forms of paint, and they are available both in aerosol spray cans as well as compatible with a spray gun, which makes it more feasible for home projects done in the garage.
  • Lacquer paints tend to have a high gloss finish which looks great when properly finished and polished.

Disadvantages of Lacquer Based Paints

  • Lacquer paints have inferior resistance to UV and chemicals, which can lead to a rather short life span compared to other paint types such as urethane.
  • Lacquer paints are a softer paint even when fully dry, which makes them far more susceptible to chips from road debris and rocks.
  • Lacquer paint jobs tend to require a higher number of coats, and almost always require proper cutting and polishing to look their best.
  • Because it can only be finished after the paint has been given sufficient time to harden, lacquer paint jobs tend to require a prolonged period of time from start to finish to obtain a high quality final product compared to other paint types.
  • Lacquer paints, while cheaper and easier to apply, also require more finishing work and a higher number of coats to look their best.

While these advantages and disadvantages may seem like they cancel each other out, the fact remains that they are relatively friendly to the beginner, and that alone may be enough to keep them at the top of your list should you be considering a do it yourself job. Be sure to double check your local laws and regulations regarding the legality of lacquer in your area before starting a project however, as lacquer is becoming illegal in many areas.

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